University commentators in the media

Our academics have been in demand providing media with analysis of the COVID-19 situation. The following is just a selection.

When it comes to exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown, being told to use our judgement has turned into judginess, writes Professor of Health Annemarie Jutel. Postpone or cancel? Dr Shin Takahashi from the School of Languages and Cultures considers the debate over the Tokyo Olympics. Dr Van Jackson from the International Relations programme discusses US President Donald Trump’s use of sanctions against countries such as Iran during COVID-19.

Professor of History and Film Giacomo Lichtner warns that with COVID-19 “the world’s collective memory is at stake: protect it, record it, cherish it while we still have a chance”. Dr Hedwig Eisenbarth from the School of Psychology dispels the suggestion introverts will thrive at social distancing. Professor Nicholas Agar from the Philosophy programme suggests what we can learn from those 60 Queenstown partygoers. Professor Elizabeth Stanley from the Institute of Criminology contemplates COVID-19’s impact on fear, crime, and justice.

Dr Douglas Sutherland from the School of Psychology spoke to RNZ and Newstalk ZB (and wrote this for the Science Media Centre) about the impact on New Zealanders of the country’s first COVID-19 death. Dr Sutherland also gave his tips for keeping your cool at home under lockdown.

Trevor Bradley from the Institute of Criminology commented on the unprecedented powers police have been given during the lockdown. Professor Michael Macaulay from the School of Government warned about the threat posed to the community’s trust in each other. Dr Eva Neely from Wellington Faculty of Health spoke about anxieties around pregnancy and birth during COVID-19.

Max Rashbrooke, a Senior Associate in the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, cautioned against introducing a universal basic income. If air quality is improving during the lockdown, “then hopefully the emissions of greenhouse gases are decreasing as well, at least in the short term”, Professor James Renwick from the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences told 1 News. Dr Mary-Ellen Gordon from the School of Information Management showed how people with  a business idea could use their time in lockdown productively.

Professor Ilan Noy, Chair in the Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Professor Arthur Grimes, Chair in Wellbeing and Public Policy, and Dr Michael Fletcher from the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies assessed Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s COVID-19 economics package. Dr Fletcher also considered the case for a huge COVID-19 benefit reform.

The Institute for Governance and Policy Studies’ Dr Simon Chapple asked how much a New Zealand life is worthProfessor Marc Wilson from the School of Psychology offered advice for handling the mental health impact of self-isolation and lockdown. Associate Professor Ian Welch from the School of Engineering and Computer Science considered technological aspects of the lockdown.

Professor Agar, again, suggested the post-COVID-19 world calls for fresh imagination. Finally, Dr Grant Otsuki from the School of Social and Cultural Studies wrote a cultural analysis of that much stockpiled item toilet paper and his thinking on the subject was highlighted in the New Yorker.